I'm definitely not an expert cook, but I do love good food. Along this eating well with a busy lifestyle series, I've been describing strategies that blend having a full schedule and eating well to perform at your peak. Now it's time to talk about the kitchen essentials that totally support this endeavor.
I mean, a big piece of this puzzle is having the right equipment to make healthy meals.
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And here's the thing...
These useful kitchen gadgets must be entrepreneur (driven person) friendly too!
This is the criteria:
- They don't require extensive cleanup. (e.g., they won't have components that need lots of scrubbing at the end)
- They can be used as the only tool during the whole cooking process. (i.e., one-pan meals)
- They must be considered "safer cookware" so that they don't leach harmful chemicals into the food. (When you're going after your goals, you don't want to inadvertently ingest something that could negatively affect your health. Here's an interesting article by Wellness Mama for more on that topic.)
Essentially, the goal of this post is to optimize your time in the kitchen. One or both of these kitchen essentials can help you do that. It just comes down to what you're style is (traditional versus more technology-style cooking) when making food.
About These Kitchen Essentials
When I was putting this post together, I realized this:
The majority of my quick and healthy meals come from just two kitchen tools.
(Of course, there are other kitchen gadgets out there, but I like to keep things simple for myself and I want to do the same for you.)
- This tool can automatically stop cooking when the food is done. (This is fantastic if you get caught up in a project and don't make it back in time. It's my favorite "set it and forget it" gadget.)
- This item is non-stick cookware that lasts a lifetime and can cook one-pot meals. (Some even say it adds iron to your food. In my opinion, it makes food taste better too. 🙂 )
Below are my go-to kitchen essentials that I've used for years. I hope you find this information useful!
Disclosure: The content below contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you make a purchase using my links. This is at no additional cost to you. These products are only recommended because I personally use them and believe they will be valuable to you too.
A few years back, I was looking for a slow cooker that would give me a more "hands off" experience. In other words, you could add ingredients, walk away and then come back when the meal is ready.
The problem was that many cookers had inserts that were made of materials I wanted to avoid. (The insert is the container that actually touches the food.)
This is when I found the Instant Pot because it has a stainless steel insert with no chemical coatings. I also discovered that it had "pressure cooking" capabilities, which cooks food a lot faster without sacrificing the flavor. (I can't believe I'm saying this, but I believe certain meals taste better coming out of the Instant Pot versus a traditional long, slow cook in the oven.)
In the video below, you'll see how I used my Instant Pot (6 quart size) to cook a whole, 4-pound chicken in about an hour. (For comparison, this same size chicken usually takes 2 hours in the oven.)
See The Instant Pot In Action
The Instant Pot has many benefits, but one of the main features is that it has "multicooker" capabilities. The most popular 7-in-1 series, for example, is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer.
Instant Pot offers different models to choose from as well. For example, the Instant Pot Smart WiFi allows you to control your multicooker from your mobile device. You can cook, adjust and monitor the progress of your meals on the go. (Note: I don't have experience with this model, but I wanted to let you know this option exists.)
How I Use My Instant Pot
I typically use my Instant Pot (6 quart size) to cook large batches of food so I get many meals out of a single effort. For instance:
- Large proteins like chuck roast, whole chicken and pork shoulder (By the way, if you read this quick recipes article, you can use leftover proteins for many of those meals and cut your time down even more!)
- Rice (I make 3 cups at a time)
- Cruciferous veggies like cabbage and kale (the whole head of cabbage can go in there)
- Bone broth (approximately 4 quarts at a time)
(Note: Instant Pot is a hugely popular tool with lots of support. You'll find tons of Instant Pot recipes online and dedicated Instant Pot cookbooks that support various diets and cuisines. I just wanted to mention this because the incredibly useful nature of this cooker makes it less likely to become one of those tools you buy and then never use.)
Instant Pot Resources
driven-person friendly feature: Instant Pot has a "Keep Warm" mode when your food is done cooking. This way, your meal doesn't burn and it's a nice temperature when you're ready to eat.
10.25 Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
For a long time, I avoided using cast iron because I thought the cleanup would be too hard. (These don't go in the dishwasher.)
Turns out, my fears were unfounded. To clean, you can simply wipe it down with a paper towel, and, if necessary, scrape away any stuck-on bits. Then just add a light layer of oil to keep it in good condition. (You can also boil water in the pan to get rid of something really stubborn, but I've never had to do that.)
How I Use My Cast Iron Skillet
Lodge produces my favorite cast iron cookware. Besides cooking steak, I use the 12-inch Lodge skillet (10.25) to create one-pot meals like this one:
(This is the skillet I used in The Fridge Meal Formula.)
Besides the easier cleanup I mentioned, here are some more reasons this skillet gets my highest recommendations:
- It comes pre-seasoned so you don't have to do this yourself. (Pre-seasoning allows the food to release easier, and it keeps the cookware from rusting.)
- You can do all kinds of cooking methods. (For example, sauté, bake, broil and sear.)
- This skillet can go everywhere except the microwave. (For instance, on the stove, in the oven, on the grill and over a campfire.)
- Lodge cookware is still made in the USA (South Pittsburg, Tennessee to be exact). Also, it's one of the more cost-effective options.
Add to that, this skillet just gets better with age. It seems to retain the memory of past delicious meals, and smells incredible when being heated.
Note: Lodge makes all kinds of skillet sizes. I recommend getting the 12 inch (10.25) skillet size because it's large enough to make one-pan meals. If that's not something you care about, you can go smaller or larger, as you prefer.
driven-person friendly feature: If you get the Lodge cast iron skillet that's 12 inches or larger, you can use it to make one-pot meals. These types of meals are easier to assemble and require a lot less cleanup!
CONTINUE READING THE EATING HEALTHY WITH A BUSY LIFESTYLE RESOURCE BOOK
- YOU ARE HERE >> Chapter 4: 2 Kitchen Essentials That Make Life So Much Easier
- Chapter 1: What's In Your Refrigerator? Here's A Quick Meal Idea for Busy People
- Chapter 2: How To Find Organic Foods Online That Support Your Entrepreneur Diet
- Chapter 3: What To Cook This Week If You Don't Have A Lot Of Time, But Still Want To Eat At Home
- Chapter 5: 10 Healthy Grab and Go Snacks for Adults (No Fridge Required)
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